Since March of 2020, the Oasis Tutoring team has focused on staying connected with our tutors and this summer was no different. As a special thank you for their continued support, Oasis tutors were offered a Summer Author Series of webinars that allowed them an inside glimpse into the work and processes of well-known children’s book authors. This special professional development opportunity was well received by tutors nationwide and became one of their favorite highlights of the summer of 2021!
E.B. Lewis, “artistrator” of over 70 books and recipient of multiple artistic awards gave tutors insight into his life as a person with dyslexia. He also spoke about finding his inspiration from his uncle who took him to art lessons as a child. An educator himself, E.B. shared with tutors that, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
“E.B. Lewis was great! I like his ‘Box of Possibilities’’ idea for finding something that interests kids. I’m going to look for some of his book at the library for my granddaughters”. -Oasis Tutor, St. Louis, Missouri
Bridget Heos, author of the popular book series, Mustache Baby explained that her series was inspired by her own children. When speaking of her background in education and social work, Bridget gave tutors insight on how important it is to read with children and have fun while doing it.
Mexican-American author, Matt de la Pena strives to represent all students’ backgrounds in his books. Matt spoke of how he chooses illustrators carefully because it is important for students to read the words in the book but also think about what the pictures are telling them.
“I loved Mr. de la Pena’s quote– Books are vehicles to conversations!” -Oasis Tutoring staff, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt, an author and Illustrator team, were thrilled to speak to Oasis tutors about their work together on books such as One Dog Canoe and The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town. They read their picture books and visited with our tutors about where their ideas came from when writing and their creative process.
“What a wonderful chance to share what we do as creators of books with those dedicated front-line volunteers who work with our young readers!” -Mary Casanova, Author
We concluded the series with the authors of a St. Louis favorite, Goodnight St. Louis. Authors June Herman and Julie Dubray originally wrote this story for their own children and have gone on to share it with many St. Louis area students, allowing them to get a peek of these wonderful places right in their backyard.
One of the silver linings of our time spent in a virtual setting was the opportunity to share these national authors with our tutors- something that would not have been feasible when we were in person. As the 2021-22 school year begins, the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Program looks forward to partnering with current and new school districts to help students achieve educational equity following this uniquely challenging year. Together, we hope to address the academic and emotional challenges the pandemic has presented.